The year is 1770, the sun is shining and they're doing good business at the Three Hats Inn.
This is where the best trick riders perform, all vying to outdo one another with their amazing stunts on horseback.
Top of the bill today is Sgt Major Philip Astley, a Herculean figure of a man in a wig and shiny boots, who dazzles the crowd with his dare-devil acts.
Astley is all smiles as he turns himself upside down in the saddle, but secretly he harbours a dream - of escaping the Three Hats and setting up on his own.
Astley wants to be the impresario of England's very first circus, but will his rivals let him?